On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC Championship against the Tennessee Titans 35-24. The win puts them in Super Bowl LIV for the first time in 50 years! People have waited their whole lives for this one moment. I’ve heard the tales of fans’ disappointments for the last two years. Don’t get me wrong, the city deserves it. The fans deserve it. And the fans are absolutely fabulous here. Still, being here is awkward, to say the least, after moving from New Orleans a couple of years ago.
Watching the Kansas City Chiefs Make History as a New Resident
From New Orleans to Kansas City
Let me explain. Being born and raised in New Orleans comes with certain allegiances. As a kid, parades are expected. Food as expectations surpass anywhere in the world. Beer can be drunk at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And most importantly, the New Orleans Saints are your birthright.
So when a certain sports site reached out to me six years ago to write a few stories covering my favorite team, there was no hesitation. Failing English twice in college didn’t exactly have me extremely confident in this new endeavor. However, something inside craved the challenge of putting myself out there in a world of sports journalism. No experience. Actually, in the previous 20 years, a resume was the longest piece of work for someone else to read.
The editor ended up leaving that site. Consequently, the site decided to pick me to lead a site gathering anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 views a month. For a newer writer, the opportunity almost felt undeserving. But sometimes, a knock on the door comes unexpectedly. You just never know. Eventually, by some act of divine intervention, credentials were secured to cover my hometown team close up. Going from a beginning blogger to asking coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees questions in two years were mind-blowing.
Learning in the Trenches
Still, the belief was there. I belonged. And all those 80-100 hour weeks were not all that luxurious. Work became an obsession in the early days. No one gave me a roadmap. Surely, reporters gave me the stink eye at first walking off the street to be on the same exact place they were after years of trying to break into the NFL media. Understandably, local reporters earn the opportunity to cover an NFL team. Two years is hardly a long time in the sports business.
And two years of hard work didn’t exactly measure up when Jim Henderson walked in the room, asking the same player questions in a live shot. Henderson called the New Orleans Saints games for nearly a half a century. To this day, I’m not sure what made him come over and put his hand around me not knowing anything about me. Regardless, the exultation of being there right alongside the experts made me feel on cloud nine.
Covering the Saints Is a Lifestyle
Fast forward to 2017 when the Saints became overnight playoff contenders after three 7-9 seasons. The 2017 season was electrifying. Being at most of the games in the press box and covering the post-game press conferences started to feel like home.
At the same time, my other planned journey to use my accounting degree finally came to fruition. Literally, after six years of being rejected from various accounting firms and government jobs left me in a state of being stuck in an average job in my accounting career. At that time, ordering and doing inventory daily did not meet my standard of being an actual accountant. And somewhere God probably had a sense of humor because a huge curveball came my way. A job offer came down the pike to work for the federal government in Kansas City. My first thought was “where is Kansas City?”
Finding My Way in a New Town
Surely it has to be in Kansas or maybe Missouri. That question finally got answered. The opportunity to be able to provide for my family became an easy choice long term. Even though, the trek going back and forth from Kansas City really didn’t enter my mind at the time.
The job was exactly what my degree was made for. And somehow, being the Saints beat writer 843 miles remained just as important even now. Games have been a bit more challenging to make. Training camp is still by far my favorite event to cover. There’s something sacred about starting a new season in the long summer days.
Super Bowl Dreams Become a Reality
It’s sorta feels like a new birth every year and being able to watch the development of a team early on.
So fast-forwarding a couple more years to present day January 19th, 2020. Seeing another team go to a Super Bowl after a long hiatus is exhilarating. Surely, my wish for the Saints to return to a Super Bowl wasn’t in the cards this season. Conversely, watching the Chiefs gave me a sense of being a part of history forever. There were no tears like 2009. However, the memories started to flood in when the coverage of the fans stating their own stories resonated with joy from that special season.
All things considered, sports can provide so much happiness and heartache. No matter what happens, few people are able to live in a city where a professional franchise makes it all the way to the championship. Hopefully, the feeling of elation can somewhat be a sense of satisfaction being right there in the moment. The Chiefs have worked their way into my second favorite team. The city deserves a Super Bowl to give a piece of comfort to all the fans who have stuck around through thick and thin.